Thursday, August 09, 2007

Why the Bush Administration
Communicates Poorly

by Marvin Olasky - August 9th, 2007 -

When reporters told me in 2000 they thought Gov. Bush dumb, I told them he was business-management smart rather than graduate-student smart, a la Bill Clinton -- and who needed more Clinton?


President Bush saw no reason to give his media opponents ammunition. He wanted to develop the most leak-free administration in modern times. He has succeeded.

Freedom from leaks, though, often has meant freedom from broad debate. From poverty fighting to Iraq, the administration has circled the wagons when challenged. The Bush administration became smart tactically but weak strategically -- and in the absence of a strong strategy to educate the American public about some crucial issues, the tactics worked only for a while.

Olasky can call it a planned strategy on communications if he wants, I cannot believe that there is any way to describe this strategy other than "tone deaf" arrogance. It is, as Olasky acknowledges, a strategic disaster. It is, as Olasky suggests, a strategy that treats each decision separately from all others, as MBA management often does. What it also points out is one explanation for why Bush is failing.

We are at war. Bush has as his primary responsibility prosecuting the war. In war people are asked to die for our nation. The number one job of the President during war is to keep support for the war as the primary focus. No matter how much Bush has been personally attentive to the individuals who are injured and the families of those who have died, his failure to maintain citizen support for the war means he is personally a failed President.


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